Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness


Volcanic surface rock in Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness
Volcanic surface rock in Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness
Shea Road near Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness
Shea Road

The Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness is an 18,790-acre property located about 10 miles northeast of Parker in the western Buckskin Mountains. The area is mostly filled with volcanic rock that has been eroded into rocky canyons and deep, sandy washes. It's very rugged: horseback riders are extremely challenged in this varied topography with steep canyon walls and multi-colored strata but hikers can get to most places relatively easily. The surrounding area has been picked over pretty heavily by prospectors but this particular piece of real estate was just too rugged.

Gibraltar Mountain itself rises to only 1,568 feet above sea level. However, that doesn't mean there aren't some good routes for rock climbers in all this eroded volcanic tuff. The upper reaches of Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness offer some great panoramas with the Colorado River off to the west and Sonoran Desert everywhere else. Nearly all the vegetation is of the cholla, barrel cactus, creosote bush and paloverde persuasion. There's not a lot of large wildlife but you might find some desert bighorn sheep.

To get there: Get off Interstate 10 at Quartzite and go north on State Route 95 to State Route 72. At SR 72, turn and head for Parker. About 2 miles south of Parker you'll find signage for Shea Road (to the right). Go five miles down Shea Road to get near Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness. Near the wilderness boundary you'll find a mining road that passes to the south of the wilderness. The Cienega Springs Road passes along the western boundary and there's a power line maintenance road along the northeast. Once you leave the pavement, you'll probably be praying you had a high-clearance 4WD vehicle under your seat.

7.5-minute Topo maps: Black Peak, Bobs Well, Osborne Well, Monkeys Head, Cross Roads

Giers Mountain in Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness
Giers Mountain in Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness
Upper photos courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management
Lower photo courtesy of